We are nearly at the end of our artists interviews, this being the penultimate one, with Amarjeet Nandhra. Hopefully you have enjoyed these posts and they have allowed you to gain a brief insight into the way TSG members think and work.
Are the ideas/themes for this project ongoing or are they new ?
The Insight project was more about recording the way we work rather than responding to a set brief. So there was a sense of freedom to follow my own pathway. Exploring my Indian heritage plays an important role in my work and for this project I continued to develop these ideas . Even when addressing a given topic, it is important that I find my voice and explore an angle that works for me, yet also fulfils the brief.
My research into the traditional Phulkari cloths from the Punjab, inspired this work. These magnificent cloths, with their striking colours and shimmering stitch, captivated me. However it wasn’t purely the seductive colours that enticed me, but also how the cloth was used to document everyday life. I wanted to understand what the stylised patterns meant, what the the colours represented and to unravel the stories behind these ancestral maps.
Using this research , I was inspired to create my own interpretation of a fabric map; documenting my life and my social relationships. Just as the women did many years ago.
Although this work is a continuation and development of previous work, there was however, one big change…my use of colour. The glorious colour combinations within these cloths, filled me with joy and I became very excited at the thought of using colour again. In the past, my work used a very limited colour palette, lots of black, well I guess that is still present.
The use of black for me represents a strong powerful force, a bold statement …here I am. Yet it often has negative connotations; black mark, blackmail, black sheep. Life at the moment has thrown a spotlight on issues that I have grappled with for many years. Sometimes the weight of the anger and injustice becomes unbearable and the need to retreat to the comforting and soothing world of cloth, colour and stitch beckons.
What is your favourite part of the creative process?
I really enjoy the initial stages, getting consumed with the research, experimenting and sampling. The buzz of creating new ideas, the excitement and that feeling when your play takes you to a space that feels rights. An idea that leads you to a place that you hadn’t even imagined.
In the early stages, I want to explore all my ideas and have a tendency to add everything but the kitchen sink! There is a sense that I might lose out and the one idea that got away was the perfect one! The words I often repeat to myself are…pare back, select what is most important.
I sometimes find that I lose interest when I have reached a conclusion to my experiments and that producing the finished item can become a little mechanical.
Once I have completed the work I rarely have any attachment to the piece and am ready to move on. I am never fully satisfied with the end outcome, wondering if I should have done something different. Some past pieces do get reworked and added to. I suppose that’s the nature of the game, to continue and strive to make that perfect piece!